- Many of the great German labels, Kompakt and Innervisions among them, have taken a distinctively open-minded approach to dance music. Incorporating indie and pop influences and dipping into everything from cosmic disco to classical, they treat club music as a blank canvas for playful creativity. That may irritate genre purists, but then such labels have never been particularly hung up on notions of "cool" or authenticity.
In its original releases, Live At Robert Johnson has ploughed a furrow of clever, idiosyncratic and brazenly melodic dance music. It operates at a tangent to prevailing trends, and never more so than on Lifesaver 2, which is so awash with '80s synth sounds that it often recalls the trackier end of the disco-punk scene, circa 2004. Lauer's terrific "Language," for instance, echoes The Hacker's new wave-inspired techno, while Orson Wells' "Digital Revolution" takes those growling, purring bass synths in a more kosmische direction. Benedikt Frey's "Brainwashed" shows a masterful command of dance floor dynamics, but as it jiggles along on feverish tropical rhythms, all jacking Chicago loops and retro synths, it sounds like the kind of jolly groove Hot Chip made their name on.
There are more orthodox house tracks here, such as Massimiliano Pagliara's "Phasing Down The Sea" and TCB's lush, quasi-ambient "Byrdmap", but Lifesaver 2 is at its best in those moments of unfashionable homage. Whether sleek (Chinaski's "Future Sex") or sublimely silly (neo-electro riot that is Roman Flügel's "Tender Hooligan"), Lifesaver 2 harks back, sonically and spiritually, to a time of relative naivety when club music was less uptight. In that regard, its vibe is timeless.
01. Orson Wells - Digital Revolution
02. Massimiliano Pagliara - Phasing Down The Sea
03. Lauer - Language
04. Roman Flügel - Tender Hooligan
05. Chinaski - Futuresex
06. Portable feat. Lcio - Dive In
07. TCB - Byrdmap
08. Benedikt Frey - Brainwashed